Soapbox (Archive)



Dec 15, 2001 -- So airport security personnel are going to be federal employees after all; but the government now seems to be bending over backwards to make sure that all the existing security personnel keep their jobs. So what exactly is changing? Apparently nothing.

Instead of requiring a high school diploma, which may not be all that relevant to the actual job, why not evaluate them? Test them before they're hired, and test them regularly thereafter. Also set up a QA department to test the security systems, including "baseline" tests that should get caught by security personnel as well as speculative attempts that test the system as a whole.


Rights: But who is to guard the guards themselves?

Oct 12, 2001 -- Today the Senate traded liberty for a little temporary safety (maybe). It seems likely that the House will do the same. Many of the provisions in these bills will come back to haunt us; it appears to be almost impossible to get lawmakers to ever remove law enforcement provisions once they're enacted.

What's bad about about an anti-terrorism bill? Don't we need more security? Yes, we do. And yes, we need to make compromises. But this bill is frightening. It essentially contains law enforcement's wish list from the past few years, with no regard to whether the measures are really necessary to help fight terrorism or what their effects on our civil liberties will be. For example, HR 3001 seems to be more about banning Net gambling than about terrorism, though it bears the title "Financial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001".

I would like to think that our elected representatives can distinguish between appearance and substance when it comes to these bills. Sadly, over the past two days it appears that they can not or will not. At the same time, a proposal to make airport security personnel federal employees is being blocked from a vote by the speaker of the House because it "expands government". Beautiful.


Oct 8, 2001 - We are at war, in a just cause. I am happy that we are taking measured military action against the appropriate targets. There will be casualties. There will be deaths of more civilians, and of soldiers, despite our best efforts to avoid both. We have no better alternative.

But this is also, and perhaps primarily, a war for the opinions of moderate people around the world. We may never get the majority of Islam on our side, but that's OK, because we need only ask humanity to rally against terrorism. We have this opportunity now, due to the atrocity of September 11. We may not have it again. One bad sign -- I heard a reporter in Afghanistan say that many of the common people haven't even heard about the Twin Towers bombing. We need to do better. Why aren't the imams who the people listen to speaking out against the atrocities?

We should be sending our message through all available channels to all parts of the world. We should be helping the Afghan refugees with food and shelter. We should be mass-producing radios and cell phones (the Taliban has banned both) and getting them into the hands of the people.